The general public is so used to ‘Kiosks’ now in their day to day lives, with the new generation being brought up closely with computers and the Internet, they have no reservations about using and giving information to kiosks, and they know, and are keen to interact with, kiosks when they need a quick and efficient service.
Older service providing kiosks, such as the ATM machines or more commonly known as ‘the hole in the wall’ machines have a series of buttons to press to fulfil the interaction. Classically the screen asks a question and places a written option corresponding next to a button, and the user simply presses a button to provide the correct data to the kiosk.
You may have seen other kiosks with newer technology with a keyboard and a trackball, which behaves like a mouse to move the cursor around the screen. These types of kiosks are typically seen on information point Kiosks, Business card printing kiosks and town centre Internet access point kiosks. These kiosks are very user friendly because they work in a very similar way to a home computer with a ‘querty’ keyboard and mouse the users instantly know how to use them. Due to these machines being open to the public, they had to be developed to be vandal proof as well as being weatherproof.
Kiosks can be fitted with motion sensors to detect when a person is standing in front of the kiosk. More complex motion sensors are able to detect which direction the user has arrived at the kiosk and can therefore display content appropriate – e.g. for those leaving a store or entering a store. The motion detector means that a flash attract loop can be used as a digital sign while there is no one at the kiosk and the kiosk can instantly switch to a user mode when someone approaches the kiosk.
Kiosks in the public domain are becoming more sophisticated, however there has been a considerable gap between the first ATM machines being installed and the supermarket giants picking up the ball and running with it. Is this because they simply hadn’t seen the benefits of kiosks, or were they waiting until they thought that kiosks in supermarkets would be widely accepted by their customers?
Supermarket checkout kiosks are sophisticated because they have multiple functionality – they have a touch screen, weighing scales, and an infrared scanner reading bar codes. However despite the complexities of the kiosk itself, the supermarkets and users alike have embraced the machine and touch screens have become common place in the supermarkets.
Kiosks are being used by local councils for delivering a range of public services, providing access to information and bill payments and enabling customer services departments to concentrate on more complex issues with their residents. Kiosks are appearing in Schools, Colleges and University’s to provide access to information and support for housing, jobs, training and education opportunities.
What future interaction developments do kiosks have in the pipeline? During the tail end of 2010 the X-box propose to launch a new gaming machine in response to rival Nintendo WII. The new X-Box console will work in a similar way to the Wii so that your body movements are used to interact with the console, however the New X-box will not rely on hand held ‘controllers’ the machine will instead ‘see’ your movements. Kiosk technology will surely be heading down this route as a mean of communicating with their technology.
With whole body sensing technology users will be able to interact with kiosks without a need to physically touch the screen. Moving between content can just be a matter of waving your hand in front of the screen. Whatever new technologies emerge for kiosks the main point is whether these technologies make it easier to interact with information. Keep an eye out for other future technologies being applied to kiosks.
Please take a look at our standard range of kiosks each of which is designed to create a base layer upon which a wide range of additional options can be included. Kiosks4business approved options include chip & pin, bar code scanner, printers and much more.